Can you trust your boiler engineer? Hidden cameras reveal shocking results

20 August 2015


Which? experts used hidden cameras to reveal what really happens when your boiler is serviced

An undercover Which? investigation has revealed a number of boiler servicing engineers breaking the law and making dangerous mistakes.

Faulty boilers can kill in minutes so it's important to make sure you get a decent boiler service. But can you really trust your boiler engineer? 

We set up hidden cameras to record 10 engineers servicing a boiler - and were shocked by the results.

See a video about our results and find out what you can do to get a safe service - go to getting the best boiler service. 

Boiler servicing investigation results

We secretly filmed engineers and found they were failing to meet the minimum legal requirements for a boiler service and making dangerous mistakes.

We asked 10 engineers to service a boiler. Five were from major brands and five were independents:

  • eight failed to meet the minimum legal requirements
  • six did not fix the gas pressure, which we had deliberately set too high
  • two did not take the case off the boiler. A third engineer only took it off for just 13 seconds – he spent longer drinking his tea.

We also exposed engineers making potentially dangerous mistakes. These included not checking the boiler case seal for leaks, not checking the flue properly, letting unburnt gas hiss out into the room and – in two instances – lying about safety checks. 

How to get a good boiler service

Boilers can be very dangerous so it's important to do everything you can to get a good boiler service. 

Firstly, make sure the engineer is Gas Safe registered. Someone who’s been trained is likely to do a better job than someone working illegally.

Ask what will be included in the boiler service and make a note. Watch the engineer and use our downloadable boiler servicing checklist to ensure they cover the basics. 

A good boiler service should last at least 30 minutes. If it’s shorter than this, ask why.

Finally, ask for a written report and check it is accurately filled out. If you have any concerns, contact the Gas Safe Register, which inspects gas work.

And if you're thinking about buying a new boiler, make sure you get one that's reliable - check out our boiler reviews.

What now for boiler servicing?

We’ve shared our findings with the Gas Safe Register. It promised to look into our findings further. 

A spokesman said: 'Our experts inspect around 30,000 gas jobs every year, and if there are any instances where we find that an engineer is not working safely, we take appropriate action to remedy this.

'Following Which?’s claims, we are looking into the registered businesses to inspect their gas work.'

We also shared our results with the firms we investigated. In statements, they all said safety was their priority and wanted to investigate further. 

Now we are calling for better checks on incompetent engineers.

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